As I write this, I am sitting in the apartment of my friend Eric who lives in Bogota.  It’s been a while since I’ve checked in with you!  I’ve been neglecting my blog lately, and I think the reason is that I’m using facebook to include my notifications and updates.  Also, I use photos on my blog and I feel that I need to edit ALL of my photos before I write a blog post (which isn’t true, but the feeling of needing to do this overwhelms me, so I just put off the blog post).  And lastly, I’ve been a little confused on how to write this blog.  Do I want to include mostly feelings about me on my travels?  Do I want this to be a list of what I did?  (Seems boring to me.)  Because I don’t have a certain direction that I’m certain of wanting to use for my blog, I need to expend more energy on first deciding this, and I just don’t have enough mental energy leftover from my days to actually write a post.

As I write this, it seems that I can easily solve all of those problems.  I can edit one or two photos I like and do a post.  I can transfer posts from facebook onto my blog.  I can choose to just write a post about whatever I want without having to decide the entire direction/content of my blog.  Without deciding at this point to do a post, here is a good intro post so you can have a better idea of who I am and how I think and process information.

Also, you’ll realize, if you haven’t already, how difficult it is for me to expend energy in making decisions when I don’t have the decision already made.  It reminds me of why some people choose to have all their clothes be the same color/type (like Zuckerberg) – he doesn’t want to expend the energy to decide what to wear (unlike him, picking out my clothes gives me energy because it’s so exciting to me).  And I feel like I understand that – I also only have so much mental energy.  As someone once said, “Routine is a sign of ambition.”

So without further ado, let’s talk.  What has happened to me since my last post?  Well, the main thing is that I went to the Galapagos Islands for two weeks!  Wahoo!  An 8-day cruise!  Per my research, of talking with 3 different cruise trip sellers, an 8-day cruise is the most you can do for one route.  (If you want more time, just buy a second cruise with a different route.)  I had to go all the way back to the airport where we were meeting everyone else (who obviously had flown in or made the trip back to the airport like me), and the cruise was amazing.  We did all the middle islands, including the southern ones like Santa Fe, Floreana, and Espanola.  Unfortunately, it meant missing the far west (Isabella), the far east (San Cristobal), and the famous bird island (Genovesa).  I will do another bog post about what my actual trip entailed, but suffice to say that I came back from my 8-day cruise, did 2 days of diving, then did 2 days on Isabella (the west island where they have seahorses, which were very important to me to see) and then flew back to Quito.

In summary, I had a super fantastic time, and it was one of the best trips I’ve done in my life.  Of course, if I had two weeks anywhere, and I got to do those same activities (and spend a ton of money), I would probably rate that trip as one of the best in my life anyway!  But the Galapagos Islands were fantastic in part because of the rarity of the animals and plants.  I actually wrote 2 very-long essays about the Galapagos Islands which I’ll also post below for you.  (One on a history of the animals and fauna, thanks to our guide and to the BBC documentary on the Galapagos Islands.  And the other on what we did for our days on the tour.)  Both of these will be accompanied by youtube videos on a channel which I have yet to create and which are edited (for length), but they are not posted yet because I don’t feel they are up to par for what I want to put with my name!

I spent quite a bit of time in Quito because the internet was so slow for uploading my videos.  I did get to edit most of my photos and all of my videos (just some minor tweaks here and here left) and just relaxing.  It was nice to decompress because Galapagos was so go-go-go for me that I just felt overwhelmed and needed some time to re-gather myself.  I will admit, however, that while I was on Galapagos, one of the nice things was having all my decisions made for me by the guide or the tour agency.  But, it’s also hard to not have that time to be self-determinative, if that makes sense.  That’s an important part of my life that can only be neglected for so long before I feel the need to re-center myself.

After I spent 3 days in Quito, I then went to Colombia. As you may remember, Colombia was not part of my original plan because I meant to do Ecuador and go south (Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, STOP).  But after talking with 6 or 7 people who had traveled all throughout South America, guess what country they ALL said was their absolute favorite in the entire continent?  Yes, you guessed it.  The one country I was planning to skip!  I heard this from gringos who don’t speak Spanish, from gringos who speak Spanish, and from an Argentinian couple.  As a matter of fact, I had asked the Argentinians what country was the most unique in all of South America, and they said Colombia!

I was totally surprised, because I was expecting them to say their country (which is very unique) or maybe Brazil, but nope!  They said the landscapes are beautiful and the people in Colombia are so friendly and open and welcoming that this country is the most unique for them and their favorite to visit.  Ha!  Lucky for me, I did a very common tactic for those traveling – I changed my mind.  And boy am I glad I did!  Colombia is way better than Ecuador!  The people are nicer, the landscapes are prettier, and I’m just having a blast.

I was going to spend 2 days in the small town of San Augustin (the town is famous for these stone statues that are all around the surrounding areas but that nobody seems to know what they are for, who made them, or how they were used).  Good recommendation, Eric!!  (the friend I’m staying with here in Bogota).  I planned to stay 2 days, but I love small towns and actually ended up staying 5. 20161029_091851

Then, I went to the Desierto de Tatacoa (north of San Augustin, about halfway between here and Bogota) and stayed another 2.5 days.  Beautiful landscapes, and I even learned how to drive a manual motorbike!  (see the photo with me and my teacher)  That was kind of scary, but still fun.  🙂  We didn’t get to look at the observatory, sadly, because it was full of clouds.  And yes, if you’re wondering why a desert is full of clouds, it’s because it rained the previous night, my first night there.  Yes, it rained in a DESERT.  Like dry cactuses everywhere, very few plants, the whole 9-yards.  I asked the guide and he said it was the 6th time it had rained this year.  Lucky me to get rain, unlucky me to not see the famous observatory with crystal-clear skies.  But ce la vie.

Also, I met some more amazing Germans.  I’m just gonna say this here…my favorite people in the world are Germans.  They are so cool and fun and witty, and I just love them.  Anytime I meet someone from Germany, I’m like “oh my gosh, I like you already!”.  I have two new friends in Munich (that I met during the volcano trip to Cotopaxi) and one in Berlin (from the cruise) that I hope to meet up with in the future.  You’ll see a picture of him, Daniel, in one of the Galapagos posts.  🙂

Ta ta for now!

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